January 25, 2021

Cross-country relay proposed for 2024 Olympics

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Each team would consist of two men and two women, with each member running two legs of the 2.5km course

Last Updated: 30/07/20 10:12pm

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World Athletics president Sebastian Coe says his introduction to the sport was through cross-country

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe says his introduction to the sport was through cross-country

A mixed cross-country relay race has been proposed for inclusion at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, 100 years after it was last staged in the same city.

Each team would be composed of two men and two women with each member of the team running two legs of the 2.5km course, alternating between male and female athletes under the proposal announced by World Athletics.

The governing body said it would meet with the Paris 2024 organising committee to work out details of the proposal, which would bring the event back to the Games after a 100-year absence.

Lord Sebastian Coe, World Athletics President Lord Sebastian Coe, World Athletics President

Lord Sebastian Coe, World Athletics President

President Sebastian Coe said he was delighted at the prospect of the event making a return after a century.

“My love for athletics began with cross country,” he said.

“When I joined my first athletics club, Hallamshire Harriers, the club president was Joe Williams, who ran in the last Olympic cross-country race in Paris in 1924.

The victorious Finnish cross-country team poses at the 1924 Paris Olympics The victorious Finnish cross-country team poses at the 1924 Paris Olympics

The victorious Finnish cross-country team poses at the 1924 Paris Olympics

“It would be hugely symbolic for this wonderful athletic discipline to return to the fold after a century, and for a new generation of runners to fall in love with the glorious challenge of running off-piste.”

Competitors in action during the men's cross-country event at the 1924 Summer Olympics Competitors in action during the men's cross-country event at the 1924 Summer Olympics

Competitors in action during the men’s cross-country event at the 1924 Summer Olympics

Cross country was introduced to the Olympics at the Stockholm 1912 Games and also took place at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics.

At its last staging in 1924, the gold medal was won by Finland who were led by legendary distance runner Paavo Nurmi — who also won the individual gold.